Brazilian Travelers Expected Back In Droves
By Claudio Mendonca
Brazilian travelers are ready to descend on Greater Miami after a three-year hiatus to other regions, according to industry experts.
The strengthening of the country’s currency, the real, against the US dollar is one reason cited for the tourism recovery.
The resurgence began in August, when the number of South American travelers rose 5% from a year earlier, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. In 2001, Brazil was the second-largest source of international visitors to Miami-Dade County.
"This surge of travelers into Miami is happening mostly due to the favorable exchange rate," said Vicente Cerpa, director of Varig Brazilian Airlines in Miami. He said most Brazilians come to shop and visit sites ranging from theme parks to nightclubs.
Mr. Cerpa said Brazilian travelers are eager to come this summer because they are unsure if the dollar will remain weak and are worried the price of airline tickets will rise.
"Brazilians have been coming strong but will be inundating Miami as of July," said Alberto Karaguilla of Jerry Allen Travel in Aventura.
South American travelers are avoiding Europe this year because of the strength of the euro, experts say.
Andre Nunes, owner of Dumonde Travel, with offices in Brazil and Miami, said it is becoming too costly for Brazilians to tour England, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy.
"It is cheaper to shop in Miami than in Brazil these days," said Mr. Nunes. He said a stabilizing economy also is luring Argentine visitors.
"Miami is a very cosmopolitan city and resembles Brazil," said Mario Magalhaes, owner of Mariana Tours in downtown Miami. "It is also easy to come – it is close and inexpensive."